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Merida, Full of Music…

One of the most wonderful things about living in Merida is something that sometimes takes people years to discover. In this day of iPhones and iPods and downloads, it’s easy to overlook or forget the wonder and magic of live music. But live music is something that infiltrates almost every corner of this amazing city.

Walking down the street during the daytime, when schoolchildren are walking home from school and people are hurrying to or from their jobs, you might not suspect that music is so important here. Especially during the summer, when the streets are hot and steamy (or hot and dry, depending on the month…), you may wonder if very many people live here at all! (We’ll give you a hint… in the afternoons, the smart residents are all inside, napping in their hammocks). But when the sun goes down, especially on weekend nights, you can watch Merida come alive. People come out of their houses to sit in front of their doors and talk, to play baseball or basketball in the local parks, to sit with their laptops and enjoy the free wireless in the parks, the eat homemade ice cream in sidewalk cafes… and to play or listen to or dance to music.

To get an idea of the importance that music has had to Merida over the years, you have only to go to the Music Museum on Calle 57 at Calle 50 to learn the history of trova, Merida’s unique form of romantic ballad. Trova was a type of music that was popular around the world about the same time that Merida was enjoying the fruits of the henequen boom. It may not be as popular globally as it once was, but trova is still as beautiful, romantic and can be heard everywhere in Merida. You can even hire a two or three-man trova group to play for you by going down to the Plaza Grande on Thursday nights and paying $50 to $100 pesos for a few songs.

Or you can just go to Santa Lucia park on Thursday nights (or Sunday mornings) to hear all kinds of music live and outdoors; this is a city-sponsored event and is free to the public. On Tuesday nights, you can hear live big band music in Santiago Park… and join the hundreds of residents that are dancing to it under the stars. And most weekends (and many weekdays too!) you can hear various performers singing or performing live. There’s an expat group that has gotten quite a following, the Yucatones, that plays in various venues around town. And on Paseo Montejo (and in other venues), you can even enjoy real Cuban bands.

Merida is also the proud home of the Yucatan Symphony Orchestra that plays classical music every Sunday, under the direction of a fairly new and very forward-thinking director, formerly from Mexico City. The Yucatan also has a Children’s Orchestra and a City Choir, all of whom perform regularly in Merida.

As if all that isn’t enough, every Saturday night, at Noche Mexicana, groups, singers and bands from around Mexico come to the Remate on Paseo Montejo to perform at Noche Mexicana, yet another outdoor event put on by the city and free to all comers.

No matter what kind of music you like, there is bound to be a venue in the city limits that will allow you to enjoy it live and in person.

For a complete list of the music that is being played in any week, check out the websites of Yucatan Living or Yucatan Today.